In Autumn 2016 the notion of Home gained a new relevance. Globalisation, migration, and media seem more than ever entangled with growing insecurities about the safety of (the) home. Many of us fly over the world for work or as tourists, and we return home after a few days or a few weeks. Others desperately try to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe, looking for shelter and a safe place to call home. When we wrote the call for the special section of this issue of NECSUS all the different meanings of home were on our mind. In the meantime, the significance of home has only grown.
Additionally, both new social media such as Instagram and SnapChat as well as big data research opened up the private spheres of the home, and its inner workings are increasingly exposed, shared, and made public online. The networked life of things is bringing mediated modern technology ever closer to us. Political earthquakes such as the Brexit-vote and the election of Donald Trump in the United States have pressed people to declare a desire to leave for the continent and Canada respectively, and this, too, has added some new urgency to the question of home. Others feel that their homes are under threat due to unemployment caused by globalisation and migration, and they voice their feelings and demands so loudly that at the same time their fellow citizens no longer feel at home in their own country. These recent developments affected the notion of home in notable ways. For all these reasons, ‘home’ urges a cascade of questions that we need to address as media studies scholars.
Possibly one of the most poignant recent events in this regard is the clearing out of the Calais Jungle in France, a place where many disadvantaged inhabitants strived to create something like a (temporary) home. We open our special section with Mireille Rosello’s careful elaboration of the many different mediatisations of this ‘Jungle’ as a home of sorts. Migration is also a central issue in Iwona Guść’s and Kris Van Heuckelom’s contribution on ethnically-coded diegetic music in fiction films about Polish migrants. They look at the auditory dimension of films that evoke what they label ‘multidirectional nostalgia’ and a loss of home. Globalisation is addressed in Efren Cuevas’ discussion of the filmic representation of home by transnational families using home movies to stay in contact with their relatives in India following the migration wave of the 1960s. Rainer Hillrichs revisits the domestic settings of early video blogs on YouTube, with special attention given to the city of Los Angeles – the home of the entertainment industry in the United States. Stefan Werning analyses the impact of the home screen and the notion of digital residence in the 21st century.
We are honored to feature an interview with the eminent film scholar David Bordwell, whose books have been read by generations of film students and film scholars all over the world. The features section also includes a reflection by film philosopher Josef Früchtl, who presents his insights on Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report and art as a form of de/legitimisation. Patrick Brian Smith examines the politics of spatiality in experimental nonfiction cinema through the Argentinian film Toponimia. The features section also includes Andrea Meuzelaar’s contribution on the formations and reformations of identity of so-called ‘guest workers’ as depicted through archival footage on Dutch television. Her closely observed archaeology of sources demonstrates how material circulates through different programs, discourses, and semantic fields.
We would like to thank all of our review section editors who have once again assembled an interesting selection of books, festivals, and exhibitions for analysis. Among the festival reviews is an interview with celebrated documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, featuring inside information on his films and their impact on audiences from a unique angle: his experiences with and opinions on film festivals. Finally, we want to express special gratitude to Catherine Grant, the guest editor for the audiovisual essay section. She has curated a dynamic group of new works under the theme of performative research, presenting Domietta Torlasco’s House Arrest, Ian Garwood’s The Place of Voiceover in Academic Audiovisual Film and Television Criticism, and Will Brooker & Rebecca Hughes’ Being Bowie. Enjoy reading this new issue of NECSUS. We are already working on exciting and inimitable content to share with you in 2017 and beyond.
NECSUS Editorial Board, Autumn 2016